Business The Punt

Monday 22 January 2018

The Punt: Lots of us are fed up at work

Arthur Ryan, chairman of Primark, with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Primark CEO Paul Marchant at the newly redeveloped headquarters on Parnell Street, Dublin.
Arthur Ryan, chairman of Primark, with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Primark CEO Paul Marchant at the newly redeveloped headquarters on Parnell Street, Dublin.

If we're anything like our neighbours across the Irish Sea, it's likely that a fair amount of us are fed up with our jobs.

A survey has found that the UK is home to millions of discontented workers, with around a half admitting they'd rather be in a different career.

Research by the London School of Business and Finance found that after interviewing 1,000 men and women of different age groups and from different parts of the UK, some 47pc want to change jobs, and one in five is looking to do it in the next year, with increased salary prospects, better work-life-balance and improved job satisfaction cited as the main reasons.

A huge 55pc of workers in London want to change careers, with 45pc in the next year. There's no up-to-date research done for Irish workers. However, a study by Eurobarometer last year found that despite earning some of the highest salaries in Europe, Irish people are far from the happiest in the EU in their jobs.

But it still seems high compared with the latest UK data. We clocked in at 11th in terms of job satisfaction, with about 83pc of Irish people surveyed saying they were satisfied with their current working conditions - pretty poor compared with Denmark, where 94pc said they were satisfied.

But a separate survey by Accenture of 4,100 Irish executives found that one in four was actively looking for a new job.

Perhaps we're pretty glum about work after all.

It's heaven for Penneys

With its big Boston opening behind it, Primark did a bit of housekeeping, officially opening its headquarters last week, and providing us with a rare insight into the business behind the brand.

First up, it's a big one. The company's global headquarters on Dublin's Parnell Street, which is named Arthur Ryan House in honour of the company founder and chairman, is home to a whopping 600 staff.

Rather than build a grand new glass tower, the property has been created by combining and refurbishing a '90s office block and neighbouring historic building.

Which seems in keeping with the company's budget image.

Equally in keeping with the brand, frugality doesn't come at the expense of style.

The gym, café and atrium - de rigeuer in Silicon Docks - are all present and correct on Parnell Street.

Old foes come in from the Cold

The Pope is in Cuba and the President of China is in the US, where he will soon be touring Microsoft's global HQ in Seattle.  

If you're as old as the Punt, old enough to remember the Cold War that is, then you'll find it all pretty remarkable.

Pope Francis's visit to Cuba, including an open air Mass in Havana, is no doubt a boon to the Catholic faithful there who have turned out in droves for the visit.

But the Argentina-born pontiff also knows his way around the power-brokers of the Castro brothers' still officially communist and atheist island.

The Vatican, under Pope Francis, is credited with facilitating secret talks between Presidents Raul Castro and Barack Obama that led to the recent détente between their two countries.

Another man who knows his way around a politburo is of course China's Xi Jinping.

It seems unlikely that atheistic crowds will turn out in big numbers to celebrate his US tour, but as leader of the world's second biggest economy, we reckon it's a safe bet he'll get at least as good a hearing in the corridors of power.

Irish Independent

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